workers tabulate absentee ballots in a warehouse

Chatham County workers process and scan absentee ballots on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. They still had thousands left to count.

Credit: Emily Jones


Chatham County has posted results of 17,056 absentee ballots. They include 11,148 votes for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and 5,578 votes for Republican President Donald Trump.

Of the total absentee-by-mail ballots counted in Chatham County, 70% went Biden, officials said.


Chatham County continued to count thousands of absentee ballots Thursday, and officials said they expect the results of the ballots in hand to be posted tonight. About 15,000 remained to be reported as of 3:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the Chatham County Board of Elections.

Board Chair Tom Mahoney said they were still expecting more ballots to come Friday from the Board of Registrars, which initially collects them. Those could include military absentee ballots, which do not legally need to arrive until Friday, as well as ballots with issues that have been "cured."

Chatham County has not updated its absentee ballot count since Wednesday night, despite continuing to count thousands of ballots. Mahoney said that was because they were busy adjudicating ballots, the process of reviewing and counting ballots that scanning machines cannot read.

"Some of the same resources to upload the results are going to be needed that are being used for this adjudication process," he said. "So we don't want to stop that process in order to upload results."

Assistant Supervisor Lynn Trabue earlier Thursday praised the workers who are verifying and scanning every ballot.

“The people are, they’re doing a good job,” she said. “They’ve been working, some of them, on and off a week and a half at least.”

Trabue said many workers finishing their shifts have offered to return as more ballots arrive.

“When they leave, they say, ‘Call us first time you get more in. We’re ready to go again,’” she said.

A judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Georgia Republican Party and the Trump campaign alleging mishandling of 53 ballots. He cited a lack of evidence.

READ MORE: Chatham County Judge Denies Trump, Georgia GOP Lawsuit Over Absentee Ballots

Local officials said Thursday the ballots in question came in before the deadline and were easily located.

“All along we had the ballots,” said Jeanie Groover, Trabue’s assistant. “We found them within five minutes. They had been scanned, verified and put in boxes, in crates.”

Poll watchers, including some from the GOP, continued to monitor the process Thursday afternoon.